Aaaaaaand scene… or is it summary? The WITTScasters discuss fiction’s two combatting modes of telling stories: scene and summary. Then things get weird, as discussion branches out to include horizontal vs. vertical narrative, the unconscious storytelling voice, and self-awareness in computers. After that heady talk, the boys lighten things up with a story about suicide and severed limbs: Marlin Barton’s “Hands.”
Take a ride with the WITTScasters as they discuss literary field trips: the book-centric places they’ve been, the places they want to go, and why we visit literary sites at all. Plus, a discussion of Christine Schutt’s sad and beautiful story, “The Duchess of Albany.”
- Christine Schutt’s story “The Duchess of Albany” was first published in Noon and is now shared at Electric Literature.
- In Memphis, the boys ate ribs at Rendezvous and loved it. On a return trip, Ben tried Corky’s and Central BBQ. Having tried all three, Ben gives the edge to Central (order a full slab wet and eat it on the patio on a warm evening in late spring).
- Historian David Cohn said in 1935 that “The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel…”, which was the first stop on the WITTScasters’ cultural field trip. They didn’t see the ducks, though.
- Don’t leave the Peabody without having a mint julep (never mind where the bartender learned how to mix one).
- Do you have a hankerin’ for the best Mexican food north of Chihuahua? Make a run for the border of South Carolina and hit up Super Taco in Clemson.
- Jon pointed out that Don DeLillo’s White Noise explores the idea of things being famous just for the sake of being famous.
- In Clarksdale, MS, you can listen to the blues at Ground Zero and Red’s. While in town, be sure to check out the Delta Blues Museum and stop by Cat Head and Miss Del’s.
- Looking for literary stops in the Big Easy? Don’t miss Faulkner House Books and the Ignatius J Reilly statue. (If you don’t know who that is, you’ve gotta read A Confederacy of Dunces.)
- Heading further afield as a literary tourist? Brian can’t wait to sample Dublin’s literary culture through the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, and the Leopold Bloom Walking Tour, among other noteworthy cultural stops.
- Destination bookstores are a great excuse for a literary road trip. The boys recounted their experiences at City Lights (San Fran), Powell’s (Portland), Strand Books (NYC), and Boulder Book Store (duh).
- From the window of Square Books in Oxford, MS, you can look out at the statue of the Confederate soldier on the memorial that appeared in the work of William Faulkner.
- While in Faulkner’s hometown, visit his estate, Rowan Oak (with an outline of The Fable written on the wall) and pay your respects at his final resting place.
- Some literary sites are grand estates, like Edith Wharton’s The Mount, while others are just a plaque in an alley, like this one on the building where Tennessee Williams wrote Streetcar.
- Jon strongly recommends the Kurt Vonnegut biography And So It Goes by Charles Shields.
- Who knows where Robert Johnson is buried? Another road trip might help sort it all out.
- Discipline and restraint are what a fucking sestina is all about.
- Christine Schutt is regularly published in the literary annual Noon, her novel Florida was discussed previously on WITTScast, and she has a new novel, Prosperous Friends.
- While reading the Chrsintine Schutt story, Jon was reminded of “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” by Katherine Anne Porter.
- This is the Duchess of Albany (try to control yourself).
- As Jon mentioned, there are lots of great insights in this interview with Christine Schutt at HTMLGIANT.
We started this podcast with the idea of creating a virtual barroom that would mimic the actual barroom we used to meet at in our MFA days. Well, one of the other benefits of an MFA program is the sweet, sweet summertime. While we’re not taking the summer off by any means, we are relaxing our schedule a bit to accommodate the one-two punch of hyper busyness and epic laziness that summer so beautifully delivers. So for July and August, look for new shows every other Monday.
Come back and join us here July 15 for episode 23, when we talk about literary field trips just in time for your summer vacation planning. See you then!
The real mystery here is how the three yahoos on this podcast got to be experts in mystery. Still, in episode 22, the WITTScasters explore the various types of mystery: mystery of action, mystery of character, mystery of setting, mystery of purpose, and more. Then they delve into excerpts from James Tadd Adcox’s novel, Does Not Love.